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Key witness in Aaron Brady case spoke to Gerry Adams before giving garda statement

Sinn Fein TD Darren O’Rourke said he understood Adams spoke to the witness after Detective Inspector Pat Marry went to the former leader for help.

Former Louth TD and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.
Former Louth TD and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.
Image: Niall Carson

A DETECTIVE INVESTIGATING the murder of a serving garda in Co Louth approached Gerry Adams after key witness in the case had said they first wanted to speak to the party, it has emerged.

Sinn Fein TD Darren O’Rourke said he understood Adams spoke to the witness after Detective Inspector Pat Marry went to the former leader for help.

O’Rourke denied there was a culture of fear in the party, adding that he understood members do not need to consult senior members before giving information to gardai or the PSNI.

The Irish Times reported today that the unnamed Sinn Fein member gave a statement detailing how he heard Aaron Brady confess to the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe during the robbery of Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan on 25 January 2013.

Brady, a 29-year-old from Co Armagh, was convicted of capital murder at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court last week.

Marry told the newspaper he went to a Sinn Fein TD for help before the witness was told by the party that there were no issues in him providing information about the killing.

Sinn Féin said in statement this afternoon that the party has “no record” of the individual being a member but said that former party leader and Louth TD Adams met with senior gardaí after the murder of Donohoe. 

“Gerry Adams was the TD for Louth when Garda Adrian Donohoe was murdered and when Garda Tony Golden was murdered. In both of these instances, and on other occasions in which acts of criminality occurred locally, Gerry Adams publicly called on anyone with information to bring that forward to An Garda Síochána,” the party said. 

“He and other local Sinn Féin representatives met regularly with senior Garda officers on all these matters, including the investigations into the killings of the two Gardaí.

Any information available from the community to Sinn Féin representatives was given to An Garda Síochána. This significantly helped progress the investigation, which led to the recent successful prosecution.

On the reports surrounding the witness, the party said: “Sinn Féin has also checked our records. Contrary to media reports, there is no record of the witness in the Adrian Donohue investigation being a member of the party.”

Speaking earlier today O’Rourke said:

The party has been very clear that in so many cases and so many incidents, that people should come and make statements and bring information they have to the guards and PSNI.

“In fairness I don’t think the party presumed they needed to, you don’t need to come to Sinn Fein first before you do that, it’s clearly not the case.

“I think in how that developed and played out it was clear that the party don’t require that from people, and a very helpful and useful role was played by that person, which was the important point.”

Asked if the TD involved was Adams, Mr O’Rourke said: “It’s my understanding that it was.”

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He insisted there is no culture of fear in the party, adding:

I can say that as somebody who has been a member of this party for over 20 years and come into it without a strong republican background. I have never experienced that and the leadership has always been encouraging in terms of our important role as citizens first.

“I don’t know what the rationale was on behalf of that person, maybe it was them being over-cautious or second guessing themselves.”

Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said the incident raises “serious questions”.

He added: “Once again when it comes to Sinn Fein and the law of the land, we have seen a shadowy parallel system at work.

“We have seen it in respect of the murder of Paul Quinn, the horrific treatment of Mairia Cahill, and at various repeated junctures.

“The revelation that a key witness in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe wouldn’t speak with investigating gardai until they cleared it with party figures raises serious questions that the party must answer.”

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